Thursday, February 23, 2012

Teen Drug Use: Teens Smoke Pot More than Cigarettes

It's not my kid!' is a common phrase parents will say. But what if it is?

It's always the kid down the street, or the one at school, or even another family member.  Parents that stay in the world of denial about their teen using drugs, are actually only harming their teenager.  The more you make excuses, the longer you are allowing this dangerous behavior.

Did you know more teens smoke marijuana than cigarettes?

The use of illicit drugs among Americans increased between 2008 and 2010, according to a national survey conducted by SAMHSA. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that 22.6 million Americans age 12 or older (8.9 percent of the population) were current illicit drug users. The rate of use in 2010 was similar to the rate in 2009 (8.7 percent), but remained above the 2008 rate (8.0 percent).

Another disturbing trend is the continuing rise in the rate of current illicit drug use among young adults age 18 to 25—from 19.6 percent in 2008 to 21.2 percent in 2009 and 21.5 percent in 2010. This increase was also driven in large part by a rise in the rate of current marijuana use among this population.

We stand at a crossroads in our Nation’s efforts to prevent substance abuse and addiction,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “These statistics represent real lives that are at risk from the harmful and sometimes devastating effects of illicit drug use. This Nation cannot afford to risk losing more individuals, families, and communities to illicit drugs or from other types of substance abuse—instead, we must do everything we can to effectively promote prevention, treatment, and recovery programs across our country.”

The annual NSDUH survey, released by SAMHSA at the kickoff of the 22nd annual National Recovery Month observance, is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country, age 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, NSDUH is the Nation’s premier source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many behavioral health issues.

Source: SAMHSA

View the complete survey here.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Teen Help: Internet Fact verses Internet Fiction

What to believe on the Internet?
Aha! You found the most beautiful teen help program.  The website is beautiful with lush mountains, healthy animals, happy teens, all well staffed and a campus that seems perfect to help your troubled teen.... but is it real or is it the static of the Internet?

I don't know.

One thing about the Internet we all do know, is Google is not God.  It is very difficult to know what is real and what isn't.  Which is why I created my organization over a decade ago.

You see, I was scammed by that "static" website.  I was further scammed by the many toll free numbers and slick sales reps that convinced me I needed helped and fast.  In my defense (though I was still stupid looking back) the Internet was not as sophisticated as it is today - so parents today do have many more resources to determine what is real and what is not.

I do encourage parents to learn from my mistakes.  A quick version of my story (which the program sued me to try to get me to remove from the Internet and lost) - - will give you an idea of how not to get scammed online.

My story was published by Health Communications Inc, (home of Chicken Soup for Soul book series) in a effort to help parents with struggling teens.

Do you need a free consultation.... still confused... visit

Friday, February 10, 2012

Teen Help Programs and the Internet Search

Who knows your teen better than you do? Sometimes you even wonder if you really do know your teen, especially when they are acting like a complete stranger, but you do know who they are deep down.

Are you looking for residential therapy for your at-risk teenager?

Are they a good teen making bad choices?  You don't want to place them in a school or program that has a hard-cord element, a type of teen that will actually create more negative issues.

After all, your teen is highly intelligent, was once a rising athlete, interested in sports, music or other clubs at school or even in your community.  Now they are hanging out with less than desirable peers and have become someone you don't even recognize.

You hop on the Internet, as most 2012 parents do and start typing in all sort of key words - and before you know it - you are bombarded with all sorts of programs and schools and "sales reps" that seem to have answers - or so you think.

This is when you need to step back and understand that YES, you do need help, you do need an intervention and you do need to remove your teen from their environment enable to get them the help they need.  Let's face it, therapy isn't working anymore - if you can even get them to attend.

My mantra has been - learn from my mistakes when I wen through this.  Read - - and you will see you need to take your time.  It is not to scare you - it is to educate you.

Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Look for programs that are not attached to "sales reps".  You want to speak directly to an owner or director.  Someone that has a vested interest in your teen.  Someone that their reputation will be reflected on your child's success (or lack of).  Someone who you can hold accountable through the duration of your teen's stay.  
  • Look for the ACE factor.  A=Academics - Always ask for a copy of their accreditation for education - be sure it is transferable back to where you live.  C=Clinical - Be sure the clinical staff is credentialed. E=Enrichment programs - These are critical to be sure your teen is stimulated in a positive direction to want to make better choices.  This isn't about breaking your child down, it is about building them up.
  • Ask for parent references of parents with the same gender and age of your own teenager.  Also take it a step further.  Ask for families that are in your same geographical area.  This way maybe you will be able to meet with them and possibly even the graduate of the program you are considering.
  • Keep in mind - Short term programs - short term results.  Don't get sucked into them.  
I have many more tips and offer free parent consultation at  

Don't reach your wit's end and make a rash decision - made an education choice.... Be an educated parent - this a major emotional and financial decision.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Horizon Academy, Red River Academy, Cross Creek, Teen Help Programs, Parent Help: Are you looking for help?

 OMG - First I am dealing with this teenager, that was once my bouncing happy toddler, that went on to kindergarten and brought home artwork for my refrigerator, to this uncontrollable teen that I no longer recognize or understand.  Now I am dealing with this daunting task of strangers behind the Internet of glorious websites and toll free numbers!  Stress! That is putting it lightly!
The stress of 'who to trust' can be overwhelming!

Are you considering residential therapy for your teen, and recognize those program names? Stop and read on....

You find yourself surfing the net.  Your once happy baby, turned toddler progressed into elementary school then suddenly hit adolescence and something changed.  But what was it?

After all, your teen is smart, they are good looking, usually very athletic, capable of getting A's yet bringing home C's, you are getting reports that they are skipping classes, if they aren't skipping school all together - then you suddenly see a shift in their choice of friends.... what is going on?

Some parents will think - typical teen - maybe it is.  However when do you know when it is time to intervene?  It always it!  It is a parent's responsibility to know when safety trumps privacy.

Keeping the lines of communication open, even when your teen clams up.  It isn't easy, but talking is your road to finding out what is going on in their life.

All of this sounds so simple, but trust me - I know it isn't and if you are reading this - it means you have already tried all these avenues and you have reached your wit's end - just as I did over a decade ago.

I firmly believe in getting outside help - I absolutely believe in residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding school (though I am not an advocate of wilderness programs or boot camps - since both are short term programs with very short term results).  Wilderness programs, in particular, are an extremely costly band-aid and almost always recommend you go on to the next step - which is where you need to start anyway - so why spend the intitial $15K (approx).  Boot Camps, in my opinion, are just a bad idea all the way around - we want to build a child up - not beat them down.

So what do you do?

Take your time - do your research!  Don't let what happen to my daughter and myself happen to you!

Take 10 minutes to read my story - A Parent's True Story.  It could save you not only a lot of money, but from making a major mistake I made.

Want to know about the above mentioned programs and Lisa Irvin?  Click here.

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